FSS 800.04: Lewd and Lascivious Acts Involving Children Under The Age Of 16
Just this past November, an elementary school teacher in Bonifay was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, including Lewd and Lascivious Exhibition and Lewd and Lascivious Battery. The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office had received a report that the teacher was allegedly involved in a sexual relationship with a fifteen year old student where they engaged in “sexting” and sexual intercourse. If convicted, this teacher can face serious consequences, including up to fifteen years in prison, up to fifteen years of sex offender probation, and up to $10,000 in fines, not including the effects that a sex offense conviction can have on the day-to-day life such as the ability to obtain and keep a job.
Under Florida law1, it is illegal to engage in lewd or lascivious behavior with or in front of those who are less than sixteen years old. Lewd and lascivious essentially mean the same thing, and usually refers to sexual behavior or conduct that is indecent or obscene. There are four different offenses outlined under the lewd and lascivious law that pertains to minors under the age of sixteen. These offenses are considered felonies and include lewd or lascivious:
- conduct; or,
FSS 800.04(4): Lewd or Lascivious Battery
You can be found guilty of lewd or lascivious battery, otherwise known as statutory rape, if you engage in sexual activity with a child who is older than twelve but younger than sixteen, or if you encourage, entice, or force a child who is older than twelve, but younger than sixteen to engage in prostitution, sexual bestiality, sadomasochistic abuse, or other act involving sexual activity.
FSS 800.04(5): Lewd or Lascivious Molestation
You can be found guilty of lewd or lascivious molestation if you intentionally touch the breasts, buttocks, or genitals of a child younger that sixteen years old in a manner that is lewd or lascivious, or you encourage, entice, or force a child younger that sixteen to touch another in manner that is lewd or lascivious.
FSS 800.04(6): Lewd or Lascivious Conduct
You can be found guilty of lewd or lascivious conduct if you intentionally touch a child younger than sixteen years old in a manner that is lewd or lascivious, or if you solicit a child younger than sixteen to engage in a lewd or lascivious act.
FSS 800.04(7): Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition
You can be found guilty of lewd or lascivious exhibition if in front of a child younger than sixteen, you intentionally masturbate, expose your genitals in a manner that is lewd or lascivious, or commit another sexual act in front of a child.
For any of the above offenses, it is not a defense that the child consented to the act, and it is also not a defense if the child misrepresented their age or if you believed that the child was older. However, depending on the facts and circumstances in your case, you may be able to mitigate the charges or have the charges dropped altogether, particularly if you have been falsely accused. In any event, a lewd and lascivious offense charge should not be taken lightly because as mentioned above, convictions for one or more of these offenses can lead to lengthy prison sentences, hefty fines, sex offender probation, and sex offender registration, not to mention the long-lasting effects that a criminal conviction can have on your daily life.
Let a Top Destin Criminal Defense Attorney Help You Fight Your Sex Offense Charge
If you have been arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, it is important that you consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney. There are specific methods to use in your case in order to maximize results. Schedule a free consultation with Stephen G. Cobb today by calling (850) 423-0035 and let an experienced Destin criminal defense attorney help you fight your sex offense charge.
Cobb Law Firm
1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 101-B
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547